A MAJOR STEP FORWARD FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENT IN SOLOMON ISLANDS AS TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSIONER STARTS WORK AND LOOKS TO BUILD THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
In what is an important step to ensure the Solomon Islands benefits from widespread access to modern telecommunications systems and services, the Telecommunications Commissioner officially began his duties and is already looking to recruit staff.
The Telecommunications Commission is the new industry regulator, established under the Telecommunications Act (2009). Just before Christmas, the Minister of Communication and Aviation appointed Mr. Nicholas Williams after an extensive international search. His appointment was critical as his job is to build the Commission and guide Solomon Islands through this new era of competition in the telecommunications sector. Mr Williams said “this is an exciting time to be in the Solomon Islands telecommunications sector and I am privileged and thankful to be given this opportunity”. He went on to further say, “my job will be to ensure that competition in the telecommunications sector benefits as many people as possible and contributes to the long-term sustainable development of Solomon Islands”. One of the Commissioner’s first tasks is to establish a well functioning Telecommunications Commission.
Mr. Williams said “We have placed ads this week to find staff whose job will be to support me in providing oversight of the telecoms industry. With assistance from donors, we will ensure that all staff benefit from proper training and have the skills to enable them to meet the challenges the Commission will face in liberalising and regulating a technical and fast-evolving industry”.
The Telecommunications Commission is governed by the Telecommunications Act. Broadly speaking the Telecommunications Commission will be responsible for further liberalisation of the sector, the maintenance of competition and the protection of consumer interests. Mr Williams stressed the important role of liberalisation.
"The introduction of competition through liberalisation will spur growth, both in terms of the numbers of people that will have access to telecommunications services and the number of services from which they can benefit. The Government has done a great job in licensing a second national operator, bemobile, and I and my Commission must now ensure that competition is allowed to prosper. The posts advertised will help us meet that goal."
Notes to editors
The Telecommunications Commission is a statutory independent body established under the Telecommunications Act 2009. It is headed by the Telecommunications Commissioner. The first Telecommunications Commissioner is Nicholas Williams, a UK national, formerly working in Africa, who took office on 1 February 2010.
The Telecommunications Commission is funded for its first five years from donor money. From May 2015, it is expected to be financed wholly out of licence fees paid by telecommunications operators and service providers.